As bad as things have been to start the year, the last thing the Brewers needed was another distraction from one of the faces of the franchise. Of course, when your best starting pitcher gets arrested for driving with a BAC of 0.22 — almost three times the legal limit — the on-field effects are the least important aspect here.
Yovani Gallardo was pulled over on I-94 a little after 2 a.m. this morning, failed a field sobriety test, and was booked for an OWI. He’s facing about $778 in fines, could get his license suspended and is going to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed on his truck. About the only things going for him is that state he was in and the fact he didn’t kill anyone with his stupid mistake.
The team-issued statement, which is probably the last we’ll hear from them on the subject:
We have been made aware of the situation with Yovani and we take this matter very seriously. We have expressed our disappointment to him and know he understands that behavior of this nature is of great concern to everyone in the organization. Yovani has acknowledged the seriousness of this incident and is taking full accountability for his actions.
As Adam McCalvy notes, the Brewers have a seminar during spring training — more or less just a month ago — on the dangers of drunk driving, and the club offers alternative transportation for players if they’re too drunk to drive. It seems Gallardo ignored both.
He was scheduled to pitch this Thursday in the last game of the Giants series. If the club’s statement and MLB’s prior history in dealing with DUIs/OWIs is any indication, Gallardo won’t be missing any on-field time. That’s about the only positive for the Brewers, but it’s worth having a debate on whether or not that’s right.
This was one mistake on an otherwise clean slate, but it’s one that could have ended tragically. In 2007, Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was killed while driving drunk and talking on his cell phone. In 2009, Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver leaving the stadium the same night he pitched. The reality is that Gallardo risked his life and the life of anyone else on the road at the time.
Gallardo (and the Brewers) are lucky. They’re lucky he didn’t kill himself or anyone else. They’re lucky Wisconsin’s laws are such that he’s not facing jail time. And they’re lucky that MLB would rather go on PED witchhunts than dealing with people who risk the lives of others.
UPDATE: Gallardo addressed the media face-to-face on the field this afternoon and issued this statement:
“You obviously know why I’m here. First of all, I just want to start out… Obviously, last night, I made a bad decision. You know, I made a mistake. I made a mistake. I’m sure I’ve lost a lot of respect from a lot of fans, but I just want to apologize. I apologize to the fans, to my teammates, my family. You know, like I said, it’s just a bad call. It’s something I shouldn’t have done. I regret it. But at this point, you know, there’s nothing I can do about it now. You know, it happened.
“Like I said, I just want to apologize to the whole organization and all the people in Milwaukee for my actions. It’s not very easy. It’s one of those things — I truly am sorry. I’m going to make sure something like this never happens again. Whatever circumstances, consequences, whatever I have to do so this won’t happen again, I’m going to do it.
“At this point, I wish I could answer your questions right now, but obviously it’s one of those things that’s — it’s an ongoing process. I mean, I don’t know how long it’s going to get this cleared up, the whole situation that happened. The main thing, like I said, I came out here to apologize, especially to the people that look up to me and things like that. Obviously, it’s something that I regret, and like I said, I’ll make sure it never happens again.”